As the days lengthen and the temperatures rise, our thoughts tend to turn away from things like roaring fireplaces, to more outdoor oriented activities. But, when summer is on the horizon, you shouldn’t completely forget about your fireplace. In fact, there are few important things you should do to prepare your fireplace for the summer season. Keep reading and we’ll tell you exactly what those things are…
How to prepare your open fireplace for summer
We’ll begin by looking at that most traditional of fireplaces – the open wood or solid fuel burning fireplace.
Open fireplaces make for a truly beautiful feature in a home and nothing can quite beat the feeling of being sat by an open fire on a cold day.
However, like any part of your home, they can benefit from an occasional ‘spring clean’. We’ve set out our top tips for preparing your open fireplace for summer below.
Remove the ashes
Before you do anything else to your open fireplace, you’re going to want to remove the ashes and remnants of burnt wood or fuels from the base of the fireplace.
Make sure you’ve laid down plenty of old sheets or blankets before you do this though, as you don’t want to get dust on your furniture or carpet.
Aside from plenty of old sheets, the other tools you’ll want for this job are an ash shovel and a bucket (although it is possible to buy ash vacuums that’ll make the job easier).
Use these tools to collect the ash in your fireplace. It’s advisable to wear a face mask whilst you do this, as you want to avoid breathing in the old ash particles.
Once you’ve collected the ash, this can be disposed of in a regular bin, or added to a compost pile.
Have the chimney swept
In the case of an open fireplace, the chances are you’ll have a traditional class 1 chimney.
These types of chimneys benefit from being professionally swept on a periodic basis.
Spring and early summer are the ideal times to have your chimney swept as these are often the months when chimney sweeps are most readily available.
It’s worth asking the chimney sweep to inspect your chimney at the same time as it’s being swept. An experienced chimney sweep will be able to identify any areas of your chimney that are in need of repair.
Repair your chimney (if required)
Following on from the point above, if your chimney sweep does spot some areas of your chimney that require repair, then schedule these in for the summer months when you won’t be needing to light fires.
If you’re not too sure who to approach to carry out repairs, your chimney sweep should be able to point you in the right direction.
Add a chimney cap (if you haven’t already got one)
The summer months are the perfect time to add a cap to your chimney (if you haven’t already got one).
A chimney cap or bird guard will stop any old leaves, detritus and even animals from getting down into your chimney cavity and causing problems at a later date.
Most chimney caps are generally straightforward to install.
Decorate or upgrade!
Perhaps you’ve grown tired of what your fireplace looks like over the preceding winter months.
If that’s the case, then the summer offers the perfect opportunity to decorate and/or upgrade your open fireplace.
How to prepare your log burner for the summer
If you’re one of the many tens of thousands of people who have opted to install a log burning stove in their home over the past few years, then there are some particular things you can do to make sure it’s ready to go into ‘hibernation’ over the summer.
The team at our sister company, Direct Stoves, have provided their top tips for getting a stove ready for the summer months, below.
Remove the ashes
As with open fireplaces, wood burning stoves tend to accumulate ash, creosote and other forms of detritus as they are used over time.
Use the spring and summer months as an opportunity to remove these ashes.
Once you’ve laid down plenty of old sheets and moved any furniture out of the way, you can set to work with an ash shovel and bucket (or an ash vacuum) to gather up all of the ashes.
With all of the ashes collected, you can dispose of them in your regular household waste bin or on a compost heap.
You should then go back to your stove and use a dry cloth to wipe down the inside of the stove’s firebox. You should be aiming to wipe away any remnants of accumulated soot and/or creosote so that the inside of your stove is as clean as possible.
Inspect your log burner
Having cleaned away all of the old ash, you should take the opportunity to give your stove a thorough inspection (both inside and out).
You should be looking for any cracks, dents and signs of rust or warping. You should also check key parts on the outside of the stove such as the stove door, its hinges, the stove collar and stove pipe.
These are all components that can become loose over time and result in leakage of smoke. If you do find that certain parts of your stove are loose, then use some fire cement or thermal seal stove rope to ensure they are secured back in place.
Inspect and clean your stove glass
If you’ve been using your log burner intensely during the winter months, then the glass on your stove may have become dirty and/or foggy.
You can take this opportunity to get your stove looking nice and fresh again, and also inspect it to ensure it isn’t cracked or damaged in any other way.
Guide – for everything you need to know about cleaning stove glass, read our guide here.
Have your chimney inspected and swept
Whether you have your log burner venting directly into your chimney cavity, or if it’s connected to a flue liner, it’s worth having your chimney inspected and swept as you approach summer.
This is a particularly important task if you use your stove on a regular basis, as creosote and other combustible materials can accumulate in your chimney (if you don’t use a chimney liner), posing a fire risk.
Leave your log burner door open
One mistake that people commonly make when slumbering their log burner for the summer, is to close the stove door.
Doing this can lead to a build up of condensation and ultimately, corrosion. Instead, leave your stove’s door slightly ajar during the summer when it’s not in use. This will encourage ventilation and air flow through your stove.
Give your stove a lick of paint
If you’ve had your stove for a long time, it may look a little tired. This is natural, as the heat resistant paint that a stove is typically covered in, will degrade after a while.
If that’s the case with your stove, then consider giving it a lick of new paint.
Note – make sure you use proper heat resistant paint to paint your stove.
How to prepare your pellet stove for summer
For many people, pellet stoves offer the best of both worlds. They allow you to have a wood burning fire in your home, but without much of the mess associated with a traditional wood burning stove.
And, whilst they are very low maintenance, there are a few things you should do in order to prepare a pellet stove for summer.
Remove the ashes
Pellet stoves don’t tend to generate a huge amount of ash, but they do produce some ash.
Make sure that you carefully remove any ash and other detritus that has built up in the main burn pot. You’ll also want to remove any ash residue from around the stove door.
If your pellet stove comes with an ash pot (a drawer that collects excess ash), then make sure you empty that too.
Empty and clean the hopper
The hopper (also known as the fuel container) is the part of a pellet stove where the pellets are added before they then travel down to the burn pot.
Before you stop using your pellet stove for summer, it’s a good idea to remove any remaining pellets from the hopper. If you leave any pellets in over summer then they can accrue mould and leave stains.
Once you’ve removed any remaining wood pellets, you should wipe down the hopper to remove any wood dust or other particles that may remain.
Inspect and clean the auger
The auger is a long motorised screw that helps deliver the wood pellets from the hopper to the burn pot.
Because of this, it’s a particularly important part of a pellet stove. So, it can be wise to inspect and clean the auger before you leave your pellet stove to sit idle over the summer.
Unplug your pellet stove
As the majority of pellet stoves require an electricity supply to function, it’s highly likely that you’ve had your stove plugged in throughout the winter.
If you’re not going to be using your pellet stove over the summer, then you might as well unplug it!
How to prepare your gas fireplace for summer
Gas fireplaces are highly convenient and easy to use heating appliances, which means it is super easy to get them ready for their summer ‘hibernation’.
Below, we’ve set out the top tips you need to know to prepare your gas fireplace for the summer months.
Schedule your annual gas fire service
It’s highly recommended that you have your gas fireplace inspected at least once a year.
So why not use the warmer months, when you won’t be using your fire, to schedule an inspection?
When you’re arranging a service for your gas fire, make sure that the heating engineer that you choose to do it, is Gas Safe Registered. This is a national register of suitably qualified gas engineers.
At the time of writing (April 2022), you should expect to pay on average about £85 for an annual gas fire safety check and service.
Unplug your gas fire
Some gas fires, such as powerflue gas fires and balanced flue gas fires, require an electricity supply in order to function.
If you have one of those types of gas fires, then it can be worth unplugging it during the summer months when you won’t be using it.
Extinguish the pilot light
You don’t see many gas fires with pilot lights these days, but if you do have one on your fire then it’s worth extinguishing it during the summer months.
This will save you money as you won’t be keeping it burning during the summer months when you’re not using the fire.
Extinguishing the pilot light will also have the added benefit of keeping your gas fire’s front glass panel clean. When a pilot light is burning for a long period without igniting the main burner, it can cause a white film to build up on the fire’s glass panel.
Give your gas fire a clean!
The summer months are the perfect time to give your gas fireplace a thorough clean.
How to prepare your electric fireplace for summer
Electric fireplaces are perhaps the easiest type of fireplace to get ready for summer.
The ability to turn them on and off at the flick of a switch, and their completely clean operation means there’s not a whole load of things you need to do.
However, we do have some ideas to get your electric fire ready for summer, which we’ve detailed below.
Switch your electric fire to ‘effect only’
These days, a large number of electric fires come with an ‘effect only’ mode.
When in this mode, the electric fire will display its flame effect, but will not generate any heat.
This makes them great for situations in which you want to create a nice ambience in your living room, but don’t require any heat. For example, those warm summer evenings when you’re entertaining guests, or you want to chill out on the couch with some nice relaxing lighting in the background.
Add extra electric fireplaces to your home
Did you know that electric fireplaces can be situated almost anywhere in your home?
Because they don’t require a chimney or flue and don’t pose a carbon monoxide risk, they are an ideal way of adding an extra feature to a room; be it a study, bedroom or kitchen.
Electric fires are also the easiest way of creating this year’s ‘must have’ home design trend – a media wall.
We’re happy to help!
We’re keen to emphasise that all of the above are merely simple recommendations. You don’t necessarily have to go the lengths of cleaning your fireplace from top to bottom each spring.
In fact, keeping your fireplace running in top condition is usually really straightforward.
However, if you have any questions or just want some more tips and tricks from the team here at Direct Fireplaces, then get in contact!
We’re happy to offer free advice about keeping your fireplace in top condition. You can reach us on 0161 516 1403 or at [email protected]
Consider upgrading your fireplace this summer
If your fireplace has started to show its age this winter, or if you’ve decided it’s time to refresh the look of your home, then why not upgrade your fireplace?
Whether you want a traditional open fireplace, a convenient, easy to use gas fireplace, or a modern electric fireplace, you’ll find the perfect fireplace for you here at Direct Fireplaces.
In addition to offering the widest range of fireplaces you’ll find online, we also offer a great range of benefits to make buying your next fireplace as easy as possible.
Find your new fireplace at Direct Fireplaces now
For more fireplace buying guides, information and advice, explore the Direct Fireplaces blog…